Mixed views on NCM against Minister Bathiudeen | Sunday Observer

Mixed views on NCM against Minister Bathiudeen

Minister Rishad Bathiudeen
Minister Rishad Bathiudeen

The No Confidence Motion (NCM) against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen signed by 64 Joint Opposition (JO) MPs was handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Thursday (16) by JO front-liner Udaya Gammanpila. The final decision on the NCM was taken at a JO group meeting with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa presiding. However, his name and those of SLFP seniors Nimal Siripala de Silva, Dr.Sarath Amunugama, Duminda Dissanayake and Mahinda Amaraweera are not among the 64 signatories.

SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara told the Sunday Observer that the SLFP’s stance will be discussed with the President prior to it being presented in Parliament. National Organiser MP Duminda Dissanayake said the SLFP will make a final decision after much consideration.

TNA MP Mavai S. Senathirajah said that Party Leaders will decide when the motion is presented in Parliament. After the NCM is presented and debated in Parliament, the Parliamentary group of the TNA will discuss the matter and take a decision.

JO heavyweight MP Udaya Gammanpila said that the NCM contains 10 allegations.“We have quoted the Silumina of May 5. The Army Commander in an interview had said that Minister Bathiudeen spoke to him regarding the release of certain terrorist suspects taken into custody. This is a very serious allegation. It establishes that if Bathiudeen continues to function as Minister, the authorities will not be able to conduct investigations independently. We urge the Speaker to fix an early date to debate this Motion because people are frustrated by the Government’s partiality and negligence in anti-terror investigations. People have let their emotions out by assaulting innocent Muslims. To contain outbursts of anger we have brought this NCM. If the motion is defeated in Parliament, we can expose the ‘pseudo patriots’.”

Minister Bathiudeen said that the allegations were baseless and put forward to gain undue political advantage. “I made a request that a Select Committee represented by all political parties be appointed. Anybody can appear before it to give evidence. Such a committee must have the power to remove a Minister and his MP portfolio as well. The JO presented the NCM with a political motive. During the 52-day government, they tried to take me to their side. This is an act of revenge because I refused.”

JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that the JVP has not discussed the NCM. Even if the NCM is a result of the pressure exerted by a group of young MPs in the JO, some of its leaders are not in favour of it. Party stalwarts such as Mahinda and Basil had queried as to how they could win over the Muslims by bringing a NCM. It was Basil who brought Bathiudeen to his position. It was Mahinda who created a rift among the group that was with Rauff Hakeem and took some of them to his side. Even the Wilpaththu deforestation began then. The JVP would take a final decision by considering all aspects. There is no use of removing Bathiudeen only, the entire Government should be removed. The NCM should be against the entire Government.

Independent MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera said although allegations were levelled against Minister Bathiudeen no one has questioned him. As a responsible citizen he would take the lead in the NCM. Parliamentarians who want the truth to prevail will support the motion. The President should sack Governors Salley and Hizbullah as Parliament does not have the right to remove a Governor appointed by the President. The Governors failed to prevent the carnage so they should be removed.

UNP General Secretary and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that the party will not support NCMs meant to weaken the Government or help sinister moves.The JO has failed to prove any of the charges. “According to our information about half of the members had opposed this NCM during the SLPP meeting. It is obvious this NCM is an attempt to grab power. The UNP will discuss it at its group meeting.”

JO firebrand MP Wimal Weerawansa said “We decided to bring the NCM as there are serious allegations that cannot be taken lightly. People kept on asking why the Government failed to take action against MPs suspected to have links with the Easter Sunday attacks. The Government should have at least recorded a statement from those MPs but nothing has been done so far leaving room for public suspicion. The NCM is not against a particular community or religion but against extremism and terrorism.”